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tv   Charlie Rose  WHUT  January 27, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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>> rose: welcome to our program, tonight, a charlie rose special edition, highlights from our 12-episode brain series. >> mind is a series of functions carried out by the brain. every single thing that you and i do, every aspect of our behavior is carried out by the brain. from the most simple reflex act-- hitting a tennis ball, running, riding a bicycle-- to the most creative aspects-- running a charlie rose program-- these things are all carried out by the brain. >> rose: the best of the brain series brought to you by the simons foundation coming up.
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from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: during the charlie rose brain series, we explored one of the most fascinating subjects in all of science: neurology, the brain. we learned how the brain controls every aspect of our mental life, such as perception, consciousness, decision-making and creativity. our far-ranging discussions were on biology, genetics, psychiatry and philosophy. we examined mental illness and cutting-edged treatments and we met some of the finest minds in science led by our friend and guide and co-host dr. eric kandel. >> sure if science is capable of giving us insights into phenomenons we would not think would be in neuroscience like morality and economic decision making. >> rose: so this is bridging humanity and science? >> it's bridging the two things. and this is the beginning. we now have some methodologies, we have some strategies, we have some beginning insight. this is just opening up. so i think there's going to be a
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major impact on how people make decisions, about how we influence people to make appropriate decisions and also for making new kinds of diagnoses and developing new kinds of therapeutics. >> rose: tonight we look back at the series highlights. we begin with these simple questions: what does the brain do? what are its functions? why does it exist? here is our our guests answered those questions. >> i think we have to also ask the very fundamental question, perhaps the most fundamental question we can ever ask why do animals have brains? it's a fundamental questions because there are many species in our planets that don't have brains. so that's a question we should be taught on our first day of school. and if you think about it, it's obvious. we have a brain for one reason and one reason only and that's to adapt. there's no other reason to have evolved a brain. so if you think about it the only way we can affect the outside world is through contraction of the mind. if you think about communication-- speech, gestures sign language, writing-- they're
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all mediated by contracting muscles. so we need to remember this things like sensory processing, memory and cognitive processors are all important but they can only be important to drive action or suppress future action. there's no point in laying down memories of childhood or perceiving the color of a rose if you don't do something with it later in life. so if you think about from an evolutionary point of view, there's no point in having the thinking processs if they can't exb expressed through action. so i'm really a movement chauvinist. i though understand the brain we have to understand movement which is the final output. >> rose: to understand the brain we have to understand snoouchlt >> we can't look at memory or perception in isolation there action. and we can say if you don't believe in this argument there are many species who live very happy lives in our planet, do very well socially but they don't need to move. the tree is a very nice example. it doesn't require complex movement having evolve add brain. but the clinching evidence for those who don't believe in this view is this animal here. this is the humble sea squirt.
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it's a rudimentary animal and it has a brain, a spinal cord and it swims around in its juvenile life at some point in its life the this animal implants itself on a rock and never leaves again. the first thing that it does on implanting that rock is di-to-digest its own brain and nervous system for food. once it doesn't need to move it doesn't need the brain anymore. so i think brain is there for movement. >> human brain is born with an enormous capability for acquiring information about the outside world. infants can acquire information almost spontaneously not only about concrete things like objects and people but about abstract things such as language numbers, they're brilliant learners. >> the famous old example of the principles of gestalt psychology which are the principles by which we organize information
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and when you first look at this, it's very hard to figure out what it is. in fact, it just looks like a bunch of light and dark schrochs and you may look at it for a while and just see light and dark splotches. and that actually is the information your eye is getting from this picture and your brain has to figure out what to do with it. now i can show you what you should do with it because here we've drawn some lines on top to show you there's a dog there, a dalmation dog. and the dalmation dog has these light and dark spots on it and if we go back to the original picture now... >> rose: unbelievable. >> isn't that unbelievable? now that you've seen what it really is, now you can pull that image together and you should see how to organize it. now, normally in our normal vision everything seems so automatic we don't realize that this is really what's going on all the time.
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our eye gives thus light-and-dark information but it doesn't come in an organized form and the problem is light and dark can come from many different sources. it could be a light or dark spot because the fur has got black or white pigment in it or it could some shadow that's being cast causing it to be light or dark or it could be the edge of the dog where the dog stop and the background starps. so this information that you're given at the level of the eye is very ambiguous and so there's a sort of a detective problem. a problem solving task that the brain has to deal with which is how to piece this this information, each piece being ambiguous. how do you piece it together into a single coherent story that tells you about what's really in the world. >> rose: suppose with shadows we took a tree in the morning, at full moon... full midday soon, the afternoon and then at dusk.
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the tree would remain the same in our vision even though the shadows and the light would change. >> that's one of the amazing things that vision has to do because the brain is designed to pull out the information that's stable and important and meaningful and to throw away the information that's sort of accidental. >> our brains are not calculators where you punch in a bunch of numbers and you get a number at the end. our brains are ourselves and they incorporate what's important and how we feel and they give you different kinds of responses and one of the most important things for us is each other. from the moment of our birth the most important aspect of our life is our ability to pro detective and affect the behavior of others. and so this is a big part of what it is to be human. and i would say that theunderstl system can do something so remarkable. >> well said. >> rose: in addition to defining
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why our brain exists, our guests also talked about how it works. in the first episode, we got an overview of the brain's anatomy. >> what we have sheer the beginning of a very brief tour of the structure of the human brain. we're looking at a computer-generated image of the left hemisphere of the human brain. now, this brain is covered-- as the human brain is-- most prominently by a structure called the cerebral cortex, this gray hasn't of tissue that's almost all that's visible when you look at the human brain from the side. the cerebral cortex is the human computing machine of the brain and it's the part of the brain that's most highly evolved in humans compared to our ancestors in the animal king testimony. now we customarily divide the cerebral cortex into four lobes. and the four colors in the image here show you the four lobes and their positions and the four lobes have many different functions, but we characteristically think of them as having a number of primary
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functions. the occipital lobe here, shown in red, at the back of the brain, is the main seat of visual function. that's a lobe which is particularly dear to my heart because it's the system of the brain that i work on. the temporal lobe here shown in green is involved in a number of complex functions. it's involved in higher processing of visual information. it's involved in the laying down of memories and it's involved in the processing of information about sounds and in the conversion of information about sounds into linguistic representations and into the programs that allow us to speak and understand language. the parietal lobe here shown in blow is sort of the central spatial orientation organ of the brain. the brial lobe combines organization from multiple senses including vision, hearing and touch and it formats motor commands, output commands for the muscles which allow the body to be oriented in space with respect to the stimuli in the environment. so when you navigate in the
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world you look around the world when you decide what parts of the world to pay attention to, it's the parietal cortex doing the bulk of the work. finally in purple here is the frontal lobe at the front of the brain. the frontal lobe is the most highly evolved part of the cortex in humans. it is the part of the brain that is probably most directly responsible for making us human. it is the part of the brain that is responsible for decisions, for actions, for many functions that are often now called executive control functions-- deciding what to do, where to go what to eat, what to say. probably more importantly what not to do and what not to say and where not to go. and so it's the ultimate sort of seat of central control in the brain. >> rose: in a later episode we were told how some functions like face recognition are localized to specific brain areas where others are not. >> so right now my face area-- which is right there in my
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brain-- is active because i'm looking at your face and now it's off and now it's on and now it's off. and i know that because i've scanned myself and hundreds of other people looking at faces and objects. >> rose: you can tell when it's on and off. >> you can see it turn on and off. >> rose: the fact that face recognition is a localized function is it because it's more difficult or what? >> that's a great question. i'd love to know which mental functions get their own private piece of real estate in the brain and which don't. so in my lab we found a few. we found regions that are specialized for face recognition right here. i'll show you on the brain. i can show you where it is. if we turn it upside down you can see the bottom of the temporal lobe right here, that face area is right about here in the brain. and we've also found other specialized regions so we expected to find that face region because of the work that eric just mentioned on beam brain damage. when they had damage in this general region they tended to
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have this difficulty recognizing faces. so that wasn't too much of a surprise, although it's fun to discover. since then we've found several other regions that we didn't expect in advance at all. so one is a region that responds when you look at places and landscapes and it's right next door, a little further forward, right about there in the brain on both sides. >> rose: let me just is ask this question. if, in fact, i could reach inside of somebody's brain and remove the part of the brain which recognizes landscapes and then that person would look at a landscape, what would they see? >> well we've tested such a person. years ago when we first discovered this place area here i was dying to know what would what would happen if somebody didn't have that region. but it's on both sides of the brain and the chances of getting injured on both sides are very unlikely. but i was at a conference once and i was walking through posters and i saw a picture of the brain that somebody was
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brain damaged right there on both sides. and i talked to the person whose poster it was and i said "who is that person? i need to test them." so i tested this guy who had been an artist who painted these beautiful paintings. very tragic. he no longer painted, no longer took joy in looking at things. interestingly, he could see where he was going. he could recognize faces, he can read, he can get around in the world but as he told us he never knows where he is. he has no idea where he is in the world. >> rose: he can see it but he can't put it in any con next >> he doesn't know where it is. >> rose: in order to solve the mysteries of the brain, modern neuroscientists rely on broader technologies and approaches, these include brain scans, animal experiments, drug trials and genetics. some of the guests described their experiments and explained how they obtained their results. >> with imamonging technologies we can actually now go inside the brain of the people that... of a person addicted to drugs and see what areas of the brain
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may be disrupted that could explain why it is a person addicted to drugs can not control the urge to take the drug even though they actually can tell you sometimes they are no longer even flesh rabble anymore. they were pleasurable initially but as they lose that that pleasure becomes less and less and they start to take it not to get high but just to feel normal. so with imaging, for example, we can now look inside the human brain and see there you have a diagram that shows the dopamine cells. normally you cannot look at them you require an imaging technology that requires on radioactivity. and the way that you're going to be looking at how the drugs treat dopamine is the following way. normally you have dopamine cells releases dopamine when you take a drug, for example, and dopamine sends these messages by binding to their receptors. you take a radioactive compound that binds to the same receptors
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as dopamine but can only bind when the receptors are not occupied by dopamine. so that allows you to taken a image. then you bring the subject back and test them when they're taking a drug like cocaine. cocaine interferes with dopamine removal from this space and dopamine occupies all of the receptors in such a way that when you have radioact i have compounds the receptors are occupied and radioactivity can no longer bind. so that is really a function of the fact that the drugs are increasing dopamine. so you can now use exactly these technologies to go inside the brain of a person that's addicted and a person that's not addicted and to compare the brains when you give them a drug. >> aggression is really almost as... arguably as important in our society as fear is. it's responsible for war, for domestic violence, for genocide and we really understand it much less well than we understand the neural circuitry of fear.
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it's highly conserved in evolution, dogs fight, cats fight, and so aggression is very very fundamental and important. now, we heard in a previous episode that critical experiments by olds and millner showed that if a rat stimulate add particular center in its brain it produced a sensation of pleasure and it would do that over and over again. and even before that experiments by walter hess in switzerland in the '40s showed that if you stimulate a different region of the brain you can produce anger and aggression the opposite emotion. so that was from stimulating the hope thalamus and he showed this remarkably in cats by putting an electrode in a specific part of the brain and firing those neurons, he made this outwardly normal happy cat suddenly express rage, hiss, lay its ears back. now, that's starting to tell us something about the parts of the brain that are involved in emotion, but there's a great
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deal of interest also in the nature and nurture question. to what extent is aggression influenced by our inheritance and to what extent is aggression influenced by our environment? and we earlier today that insects have been a very good system for understanding how genes affect behavior and so an important question that comes up is whether this insect shows aggression. and it turns out that they do show aggression. we can see hit in the movie here showing to dris so la grappling with each other over a food patch and you can see them almost like sumo wrestlers shoving against each other trying to get dominance of the food patch. now, why is that interesting? because pris so la breed very rapidly and are cheap to maintain you can screen through essentially a haystack of many
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mutant strains which has a higher level of aggression than normal flies have. dro so la. and the next shows an example of a hyper aggressive fly strain. so this is the genetic equivalent of the hess experiment where these flies have been made hyper aggressive by a manipulation of their genes and this promises in the future some insight into how genes control aggression. but i also think it's important not to assume that environment doesn't affect aglegs the spez species just because genes do. in fact, environment affects aggression in fruit flies almost as much as genes. so you can show that if you socially isolate flies. you just let one fly grow up from its pew pa in a vial and then test its aggressiveness, those isolated flies are more aggressive than flies housed in groups.
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and this is also true throughout the animal kingdom. >> rose: so if you're isolated you're going to be more aggressive? >> you're going to be more aggressive. >> rose: i knew that. (laughter) >> i'd like to show you a video of what's cutting edge in robotics just to give you a feel of how close we're getting. so if we could roll the video of the robot. what this video shows is the end of a three-year project by my colleagues in germany teaching a robot to pick up a jug of water and pour water into the glass. as you can see it does the task but clearly it's not doing it anywhere as fluidly or speedily as a human would do it. you would regard this as poor performance. this is a very challenging task and if you want to train the robot something different, you'd start another three-year project. there's no generalization from one path to another. so this is a fundamentally very difficult problem. let's compare that now to what we regard as the cutting edge human. so we're going see a small child, a nine-year-old, winning the world record for cup
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stacking. now cup stacking is a popular sport in america. it involves taking 12 cups and stacking and unstacking them in a particular sequence as fast as you can. >> rose: wow. this is great! >> we've got a very long way to go before we get anywhere near that or understanding how that child learned to do that task. >> rose: one of the greatest challenges for neuroscience today is to explain mental illness. despite advances in psychotherapy and drug development, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are still common. in our ninth episode of the brain series i spoke with two remarkable women, kay vidville jamieson, though bipolar, is a best-seller author and respected brain researcher. ellen saks who has schizophrenia is an author, a law professor, and a mental health advocate. they talked about their experiences with mental illness and how they have learned to manage their disease. >> one of the things is hardest
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to explain to anyone who's not been depressed is how isolating it is, how painful it is and that kind of pain just... i'm convinced it cannot be put into words, no matter how many great writers have tried to put these things into words. you simply cannot convey to anyone who you... when you think about illnesses like terminal cancer where you you would think people would be thinking of dying and committing suicide, the suicide rate is really quite low. people who really tend to kill themselves are people when they're depressed. it's a level of agony that is just astonishing. and as i say, isolation and a sense of what's the point? you don't feel human, you can't think, you can't feel. >> rose: can't some people reach snout >> absolutely. >> rose: when did you know? >> well, i certainly knew... i first sort of flew quite high, as it were, when i was about 17 and a senior in high school and i felt great, i felt no pain.
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i had a wonderful time. but it wasn't that different from my usual... from other things. (laughter) other than noticing my friends were dropping like flies from exhaustion, it didn't seem that... what then happened is i crashed completely and i had never been depressed a day in my life, i never thought about suicide a day in my life, a minute in my life and all of a sudden i was incapable of remembering anything, concentrating, reading anything in school, making sense of anything. and i just wanted to die. i went around trying to figure out how i could die. i thought of death. i felt... and i knew something was very seriously wrong but at the same time i didn't put it into... nobody talked about depression. nobody talked about bipolar. the words weren't there so i didn't know what to do. so i did nothing. >> rose: until? >> well, i kept on that way up and down up and down for another ten years and then i went flamingly psychotic.
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i was ha hallucinating and delusional, man i can, spending a lot of money that i didn't have and not wisely. and i... it was a medical emergency so i was brought so care, as it were and i was very fortunate. i had terrific psychiatrist who diagnosed what i had absolutely correctly immediately and i responded very well to lithium. >> when i try to explain to other people what a psychotic episode is like, unlike mania, which is fine, a psychotic episode is horrible, it's terrible, enormous pain. i say it's like a waking nightmare with the bizarre images and the possible things happening and the utter, utter terror only with a nightmare you sit up and bed and wake up and you can't just open your eyes and make psychosis go away. that's what it feels like. for myself i will have common and bizarre delusions. like i killed hundreds of thousands of people with my thoughts i have occasional hallucinations of a big spider walking up a wall, santa claus
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coming out of a t.v. who knows what that was about. and i also have dig organized thinking some i had a breakdown on the roof of the yale law school my first semester there and i today my classmates "are your legal cases being infiltrated? we have to case the joint. i don't believe in joints but they do hold your body together. sqots loosely associated words that when put together don't really make sense. and that happens to me as well. and i have been very fortunate that except for the first two years of my illness i have not had negative symptoms. >> rose: are there phases for? >> there are course indicators. some people might have one episode and be fine, some people are chronically psychotic, some people have episodes with interepisode being okay which is where i fit in. and in my own course of my illness i divide them into different phases. in the first phase, the prodromal phase where things started going wrong i had my florid psychotic episode. i started walking home from school in the middle of the day
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and felt like the houses were communicating with me. they were sending messages "you are special, you are especially bad. look, see, you must fine." it was very scary. when i got to oxford i kind of officially broke down and that's the second period. i started out looking like depression with mild paranoid features but overtime developed into more of a thought disorder than a mood disorder and i was hospitalized the first year for a month, the second year for four months. by the second hospitalization i was having really frank psychotic thoughts like beings in the sky were putting thought miss my head commanding me to do things like in the hospital that there were tunnels underneath the hospital and hurt myself and things like that. they sent know a psychoanalyst which i think was a precious idea that it would help me because it's been enormously helpful. and during that phase i was not on medication. two things happened. my psychotic symptoms got worse. the positive symptoms got worse. so i was like living in the land of psychosis 80% of the time.
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>> rose: during the analysis it got worse? >> yes. but the negative symptoms got better. i started being able to relate to people again and work again. and my own theory is through the mechanism of getting connected with the therapist i started getting connected with other people, too. then i had a big breakdown into new haven, got into analysis with another analyst and got on medication and had a big ten-year struggle with whether i needed medication. for me, my motto was the less medicine, the less defective and the way i could prove i wasn't ill was by getting off medication. so i undertook each effort with great gusto and failed miserably eventually in los angeles i got a good teaching job and my analyst started saying they should... that i should get on medication and stay on it for the rest of my life. and i started that. i got on zyprexa then clozapine. my husband says psychosis is like an off/on switch... not like an off/on switch but like a dimmer. so at the far end i'll have a
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transient thought like i killed people which i'll immediate dismiss. further along the continuum i'll spend two or three days in the land of psychosis and at the very far end i'll spend time in a corner for two weeks. that hasn't happened for a decade. >> rose: unfortunately schizophrenia and bipolar are not the only diseases that affect the brain. neurological diseases like parkinson's disease and stroke are too common. while some remain mysteries, others are on the verge of being cured. our panelists talk about some cutting-edge fleplt this episode. >> here we have technology that allows us to peer into the brain. we have an understanding, at least a primitive understanding, of what have that part of the brain is trying to do. we could attack people who are we could see people who are paralyzed and connect their brain to the outside world. so i think that could be seen as a rather bold step, but we sought f.d.a. approval and we
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were approved by the f.d.a. to study a small number of severely paralyzed people, people who can't move their arms and legs, and we implanted five people so far in this small trial. and i think just by illustration i'll show you one of the first patients, his name is matt neagle and he's playing a video game here. he's supposed to hit those things... those are treasure chests and avoid the scares. it's a video game called he-man. so he was playing that video pretty well but not great. but matthew was injured in his cervical spinal cord, is completely disconnected his brain from his entire body, he that has chip in his arm area of motor corps dex and merely by thinking about moving he's making that cursor move. >> amazing. amazing. amazing. >> rose: stunning. >> but, again, it's a true example of taking the information from basic science, we had all the pieces and we just put it together so we could reconnect the body to the outside world. we want to give a couple of examples that i think take us... so we've sort of step wise gone
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through so one step is can you control something physical. so we thought of something physical. so matthew can't control his hands and here we're seeing a video of matthew thinking about opening and closing a hand and there he is opening and closing his hand. it had a very profound affect on him because it was the first time that he had actually moved anything physically. then to extrapolate that a bit further we asked could you control something practical like a wheelchair? this is a lady who has what's called a brain stem stroke. it's a little bit above the spinal cord. she's not only unable to move, she can't speak. what she's doing sheer using this chip to control that wheelchair so it's wirelessly beamed over to the wheelchair and actually control system that s that computer mount tonight wheelchair. i asked her to drive over to to wheelchair she asked us to practice about five minutes before this. and she's not very gracefully
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driving it over towards door. and, of course, you know, the control isn't good enough, we wouldn't have her in the wheel their we just had her do it remotely. so at this point we've shown in in each of several different disorders that includes spinal cord injury and stroke and even a.l.s. patients it's possible to decode the brains and sense the signal and connect them devices. but these are all demonstrations. we're not there yet where these have available for everyday use. >> but it's also so wonderful about this is not only clinical effect which is so dramatic but really shows that john has learned how to read the brain how to use the information from the brain to drive a device. so that itself is a major insight that you can make sense out of the action potential sequences in the brain. >> it brings us to john's
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aspirations here, john krakauer, what you hope to do with strokes. >> i think it follows very nicely because the very same plas plasticity in these extreme cases where you're going to have to bypass where you have these pathways and control an external dwris with itsplastyty, in patients who have stroke where they still have residual movement left the question to ask is a similar one. can you somehow augment theirplastyty and recovery. and they recover most of the time within the first three months after the stroke. but not completely. and we know from animal models that we're talking about before that this seems to be because of a time window plasticity that
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finishes after about three months in humans, about four weeks in other models. so what we want to do is can we use technology to try and take advantage of thisplasty the in patients after stroke? so there are two kinds of technology being used increasingly now. so here is a robot. this is basically a robotic device that attaches to the affected limb of a patient after stroke. and what this robot can do is give very degrees of assistance to the patient so that when they start to make a movement the robot can give them 3-d assistance. and as they understand the movement requirement of them, you can take away the robot's cipgs. so the idea would be to take patients early of stroke and with the use of a robot that can give you hundreds of thousands if of reputations lots of reputations are required to interact with this to get
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recovery. so what we need is some sort of device that doesn't get tired and can be problemed to give you a hundred thousand repetitions and do it early. second is to do something non-invasive. like we just heard in john. in patients who are less severe we don't necessarily think we have to put electrodes into the brain itself, we feel like we can stimulate motor cortex externally. so in this slide you can see the figure eight oil and you put currents through a coil which generates magnetic fields which are at right angles through the brain and those magnetic fields induce current in neurons and stimulate a motor cortex. the other one instead of using magnetic fields you can use essentially a 12-volt battery and that actually can increase excitability of motor cortex. these are two ways to augment plasticity over targeted areas of the brain and a lot of phases are shown that these can
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increase an improved performance. so the dream would be... the cocktail would be to take a patient early after stroke in this window of plasticity, hold them up to a roy baht and stimulate their brain and potentially give them some sort of drug and with this cocktail ramp up the amount of recovery that could occur in these patients early after stroke. >> rose: as the series drew to a close we turned to topics that neuroscience is just beginning to address: our 11th and 12th episodes covered decision-making and creativity. on the topic of creativity, the artists chuck close and richard serra explore how old they see creativity and how it works for them. >> i think first of all we have to understand that what it is that drives decisions. so we have to understand the neural mechanisms and how they interact with each other. i was having this conversation that you raised with an economist colleague of our mine and he was skeptical about neuroscience for economics and he said all i care is the
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choices that people make. i just care what happens in the end. i don't care what's going on in the brain to produce the choices. the choices are something i can measure. that's my data. that's what i work with. i think my counterpoint to him was you can measure the choices now but how are you going to predict choices the future in different situations? and the dominant model in economics right now that's used to explain choice is economic rationality. you choose the thing that actual is the best in the long run in terms of economic outcome. we know people don't work that way. and so the question then is how... what are the deeper underlying principles by which decisions get made? we just have come through a period in this country with disastrous economic decisions having been made and disastrous decisions being made do we regulate, not regulate, what kind of instruments are we wise to use? these are deep-rooted decisions that gate made in human behavior
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and that we need to once the decisions come from and the rational model is not going to in the end be a good guide. >> i think a simple example of what neuroscience can offer is the realization we've had from freud and before, how important emotion is to people's behavior and your example of how sometimes the emotional process are recruiting we need a direct measure of that. if we could image people and say we recruit the amygdala under these circumstances, we don't recruit under those circumstances we have an independent way of evaluating what circumstances are recruited. otherwise we're infering this is happening. >> emotion is something we have a difficult time studying in animals. it's much much more tractable in humans, one of the things that's much more tractable and ray
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talked about this articlement of decisions and decision-making voices and the higher level reasoning and this rambunctious bubbly emotional substrait and josh mentioned emotion and the question is emotion something that's valuable and that we should be keeping and how do you recognize one versus the other? sometimes emotions lead us asupply and some would say it's a numbers game but the ability to empathize with other people that psychopaths lack can sometimes be a good thing. how do we think about pluses and minuses of emotion. >> this is where the camera analogy is very useful. if you think of emotions as being the automatic settings, you think of manual mode as being reasoning, you can ask a forever what's better. the automatic settings or the manual mode. what the photographer will say is different things are good for different circumstances. if you're in a standard traffic situation, the kind the manufacturer of your camera
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could anticipate but if you're facing a new graphic challenge you're probably going to have to put your cam ral in manual mode. so what we really need do as a society is understand ourselves so we can no how to use our moral brains. when we're dealing with the situations we've been well prepared for either by our genes or cultural influences or our own experiences and when we're going out on a decision-making limit. an example would be dealing with something like global warming. we have no genetic experience dealing with global warming. we have no personal experience with it. we've never gone through a trial and error process because we're still on our first trial. and so in trying to come up with a fair way to divide up the burdens of solving this problem should we go with historical
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emissions levels and say whatever's been in the past that's more or less fair and we'll stick with that or start with a clean slate and say every human on earth has the equal right to emit carbon? very different ways of looking at it. obviously different countries look at it one way another and our intuitions about justice and fairness may not be much help and we may have to put our cameras in manual mode and think like economists. other cases, for example, managing your personal life it would beer the to believe think like an economist. you want to think like a poet. so we have to understand ourselves to use our minds better. >> rose: creativity needs what? >> i think the people who are making and doing, when you're making and doing something at least i don't. i don't think "oh, now i'm creating." i think certain aspects of what i would like to find out about my own experience in doing and making lead to developed certain
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processes that will ame to have a certain feedback that allow know continue. when i first started in new york i decided i wouldn't act the verbs in relation to material and place and sometimes even time. so i take very simple things and i would either roll that up or lift a piece of rubber up and i would call them to roll, to lift, to bang, to bend, to tie, to dapple, to twist or whatever. i thought just by using a very simple transitive verb structure it would allow know enact processes that would then allow know proceed in a way thative in to deal with the specifics of history. it would allow me to have anen intrinsic lodge nick relation to what i was doing. in relation to the perception of what was the residue of the activity. now that doesn't mean all activities in the residue are
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going to create something that is satisfying in terms of what you would call an aesthetic experience. most of them not. but every now and then you would have a moment where you would say ah-ha. i've done this and this satisfies certain parameters of what i can then relate to and things that have been done before but no precedent for it. and the very early work was the simple taking a piece of rubber about four feet wide and eight feet long and just lifting it about and it was called to lift. once i stood that up i realized that i could accept the top logical continuousness of this form as a sculpture. now, the immediate generation that had come before had dealt with the hierarchy of the object and they weren't involved with the process of the material and they had specific intentions. well, i was more interested in my own physical experience than somebody else's intention. i wasn't interested in script, i
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was interested in how i could physically interreact with material and what the residue would be in terms of anyone looking at it being able to reconstruct what was done. whether or not that was satisfying aesthetically for other people or not, at that point didn't concern me. and i was working with various people. i had a small trucking company so it was myself, chuck, phil glass bob fiori, michael snow. so there were a lot of painters, other sculptors, filmmakers, musicians who would help me. and there was a dialogue that went on between us that was involved with process, time, movement, place that didn't adhere to discipline so there was an interconnectedness to the language that we all share and it wasn't any competition about one outdoing the other because
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we were all involved with a similar language which up to that point really hadn't hit the museums. we were doing the work for each other. >> rose: does this resonate with you? >> yeah, i was... i remember being in richard's studio when he says "look at this." (laughter) and he reaches down and he lifts the thing up and we're like, oh, wow. this is really an amazing thing. and... but i think in terms of how we ended up doing what we're doing, i think there's a common misunderstanding about how generations of artists move away from other people's work. this is a commonly held belief that we're reacting against a work that we find bankrupt, uninteresting, devoid of any value. i thought we loved all those people so much and we thought we were going to be doomed to be followers if we continued to
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make work that looked like everyone else. >> rose: our generation really wanted to create something that was not familiar and i though make something that is unfamiliar is to make something new and create something. a milo deal with facts that have come before. in watching the segments of these programs-- i didn't watch the last few-- but i was struck. the passion of scientists trying to deal with something in relation to the giving history of facts and offering something new i think is probably fairly consistent with how a lot of artists work. >> ann also made this point. there must be a common set of stages whereby people solve problems. >> i think problem solving is not the issue i think that's
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problem creation >> selecting what is the interesting problem. >> i think what we did was try and find a way to back ourselves into our own individual corner and ask questions of ourselves no-no one else's answers would fit then the search was only. but, again it was a choice not to do something ed reinhart was very important for me. i don't know if he was for you but his writings were... he made the choice not to do something, a positive decision. no more of this; no more of that. we're not going do this anymore; we're not going to do anymore. and i thought oh, my god, if i want to move-- not necessarily progress-- but if i want to move from where i am i can construct a severe oz severe self-imposed limitations. if i'm going to make something then i'm going to say... i'm going to purge my work of virtuoso brushmanship, i'm going
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to try and get the artist's handout of there, i'm going limit myself to one color, just black paint on a white canvass. my hand wants to make art shapes so i'll fwroshg the photograph so the shapes have to be the shapes of the photograph. i'm plagued with indecision, i've painted in, scraped it off so i'm only going to work with one color so that i'm forced to make decisions early and live with it. purge the work of egg everything else. >> rose: being an artist and scientist both, is there difference in scientific creativity and what we might call artistic creativity? >> it's easy to argue both for the similarities and against them. the great physicist who was a very fine amateur pianist has a
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chapter in his autobiography called "mozart and quantum mechanics." >> rose: (laughs) >> and he says that for him when he's doing one or the other... for me narrative, which is my medium, somehow seems to combine them all the way. at least i hope it does. >> i think the problem chuck and i may have with the word creativity is that seen from the outside it's... seems like a very exalted term and people attribute areas, status symbols to it or whatever. from the inside it seems it's probably an unending question mark. paranoia and...
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>> paranoia or... >> sublimation. and that's an interesting point i'd like to bring up. how does one account in science or brain science for the activity of sublimation? because it certainly is apparent to me that... and i just gave a talk on louise bourgeois who talked about it all her life that her sexual drive was sublimated in her work. that was the manifestation of her work. now it does... does sublimation play a role or have they found... does it play a role in the snap seize that occur? >> i think what's historical... her man melville. hermann melville wrote several novels in the 1840s. hermann. he was highly talented but not particularly original
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then something happened around 1850. he fell in love with nathaniel hawthorne and this was not reciprocated. and therefore the libido didn't have its normal outlet and it was in this state of passion and restraint that "bob bidick" emerged. >> rose: the human brain is an endless source of wonder and mystery. with each new discovery comes new possibilities and new questions. at the close of each episode of this series i asked the panels to tell me the one question they most wanted to be answered. their responses were fascinating. here are a few. >> the question i'd most like to have the answer to is how is it possible for a humane brain to think an abstract thought? you've learned on this program, you've talked about how the brain only gets input from its perceptual systems and only affects the world through its
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actual systems but there are limits to what we can see and there are limits to what we can do. but we can close our eyes and we can imagine a line that's inphi in thely long, a point that's infinitely small. a series of number that goes on forever and our ability to imagine those things forms the basis of everything from formal mathematics to science to technology to everything that we are. i don't think we understand how the brain does that. i think for all the advances that have been made in genetics and neurobiology we don't know where abstract ideas come from but if we could figure out how little kids have them, we could make progress. >> i would like to know what computations are that tells the difference between light and shadow, light paint and dark paint. things that seem simple to us but which apparently involve sophisticated computations. >> is that a mathematical formula or something?
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>> yes, well someday we'll figure out what it is. the way you take these numbers, light and dark and color, how do you shuffle those numbers, recombine them into something sensible that tells you about what's in the world? that's the problem of... a theoretical problem of human vision and the practical problem of computer vision >> i think we've been hearing a lot about fear, aggression. other shows we've talked about vision and so forth. and so we're very good in neuroscience in understanding how pieces of the brain work or little components, little functions work. but what we don't have is an understanding of how the brain itself works. we need a theory of the entire brain and how through there operation of the brain as a whole our personality comes out of the brain. we have very little clues in that. >> i'm very interested in understanding how we feel. there's no question that we have
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a pretty good idea of how we emote. and we have a basic idea of the circuitrys that will permit us to create this portrayal of the body when it is having an emotion and that's the feeling. but how exactly it works we don't. and, for example, why is it that a feeling feels like anything? why is it that a feeling feel it is way it does? why is it that you can feel pain or we can feel pleasure? there are a number of unanswered question there is and i think that like many other aspects of our minds we're going to find the answers in neuroscience we just need to have different approaches but that's my main question right now. >> i think one of the things lacking in areas that interest me is the lack of progress in psychiatry. we really don't have any better drugs for treating schizophrenia than we had when i was a resident in 1960.
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if some have more side effects but is as effective as anything that has come along. there's been known new antidepressants for the last 20 years and animal models are coming along, they can be very useful and it turns out many mental illnesss have a memory component. schizophrenia has a defect in the prefrontal cortex. people with schizophrenia don't organize their lives and we can now develop animal models that have alterations in the genes thought to be involved in schizophrenia and see how they affect prefrontal corporate cal function working memory tasks. one can do this with depression. so the combination of approaches knowing which parts of the brain are involved often identified by imaging or physiological methods putting this together with genetics allows us to make progress. i think one has to realize these are immense questions you're asking the most profound questions western thought has ever challenged.
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at least we're beginning the mask the truths method logically. >> rose: thank you for joining us. we're hope you'll join us as we launch year two of our brain series coming up this spring. until then, see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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